Imaginal progenitors in Drosophila are known to arrest in G2 during larval stages and proliferate thereafter. Here we investigate the mechanism and implications of G2 arrest in progenitors of the adult thoracic tracheal epithelium (tracheoblasts). We report that tracheoblasts pause in G2 for ~48-56 h and grow in size over this period. Surprisingly, tracheoblasts arrested in G2 express drivers of G2-M like Cdc25/String (Stg). We find that mechanisms that prevent G2-M are also in place in this interval. Tracheoblasts activate Checkpoint Kinase 1/Grapes (Chk1/Grp) in an ATR/mei-41-dependent manner. Loss of ATR/Chk1 led to precocious mitotic entry ~24-32 h earlier. These divisions were apparently normal as there was no evidence of increased DNA damage or cell death. However, induction of precocious mitoses impaired growth of tracheoblasts and the tracheae they comprise. We propose that ATR/Chk1 negatively regulate G2-M in developing tracheoblasts and that G2 arrest facilitates cellular and hypertrophic organ growth.
Keywords: ATR/mei-41; Chk1/Grapes; D. melanogaster; G2 arrest; Tracheoblasts; cellular growth; developmental biology; hypertrophic growth; stem cells.
© 2018, Kizhedathu et al.